Gracemere cemetery needs to expand ahead of full capacity
A MASTER plan to expand Gracemere Cemetery is underway following forecasts the currrent facility is expected to reach 100 per cent capacity by 2024.
Rockhampton Regional Council has engaged Gideon Town Planning to submit a development permit for a material change of sue for the stage one of the overall master plan of the cemetery.
As of May 2020, the cemetery had 100 sites remaining.
Stage one includes additional sites in the lawn cemetery and ashes garden, increasing the cemetery’s burial capacity.
The expansion will consist of several rows of concrete beams across the site that will increase the cemetery’s capacity with an approximate 670 burial sites.
Landscaping will be carried out and where possible, the majority of existing trees will be retained.
Sealed internal roads will be constructed and a formalised pedestrian entry with cobblestone will link the carpark to the new and existing lawn reserves and ashes garden.
A small amenities block and additional car parks are included in the overall master plan.
The proposal notes the development has been designed and planned to minimise impacts on the surrounding area.
The issue of the Gracemere cemetery was brought to the council table at a meeting in May 2019.
It was noted at the time there were 115 sites left and at the then-current rate of internments, the cemetery would be full by 2024, however this timeframe will reduce with the pre-purchase of burial rights coupled with the imminent closure of the North Rockhampton Cemetery in 2022.
The South Rockhampton Cemetery is closed to burials.
The Gracemere Cemetery was established in the 1860s as a monumental cemetery and in 1898 was taken over by the Gracemere Cemetery Trust. The former Fitzroy Shire Council assumed trusteeship of the site in 1974, establishing a predominately lawn cemetery from that time onwards, with an ashes garden in 2017.
The current site is a cemetery reserve which now encompasses three adjoining lots with a combined area of 4.6185ha.
The 2019 report stated the planning, design and approvals stage would cost an estimated $150,000.
The first stage of construction with preliminary earthworks, cemetery lots, roads and landscaping was estimated at $220,000, planned for 2019/20.
In 2020/21, the second stage with completion of entry roads, amenities block and further landscaping was estimated to cost $220,000.
Future stages would include an administration block, tearoom/reception room, landscaping, pathways, roadways, carparks and further landscaping.
There are also plans to accommodate a further 3000 sites at Fisher Street/Johnson Road.